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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to know how to appeal to President Trump as he tries to ease trade tensions between Japan and the U.S. – including a threat of auto tariffs — and continue to receive U.S. support in dealing with North Korea.

On Sunday morning, Abe took Trump to a golf course, where the two leaders played 16 holes before heading to a lunch of cheeseburgers made with American beef.

On the links, Trump and Abe were joined by Japanese professional golfer Isao Aoki, known for his putting technique. Aoki was expected to present Trump with a putter he designed.

TRUMP, IN JAPAN, SAYS TOKYO HAS ‘SUBSTANTIAL’ TRADE ADVANTAGE OVER US

President Donald Trump walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before playing a round of golf at Mobara Country Club, on Sunday, in Chiba, Japan. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before playing a round of golf at Mobara Country Club, on Sunday, in Chiba, Japan. (Associated Press)

The outing seemed to go well, Abe told reporters.

“We were able to exchange our views frankly in a cozy atmosphere. It was wonderful,” Abe said as he returned to his official residence.

Abe tweeted a photo of himself and Trump, taken on the greens.

Trump tweeted that he’d had “Great fun and meeting with Prime Minister @AbeShinzo,” but also continued to stew about domestic politics, claiming that, “Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed – Death Wish!”

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, south of Tokyo, on Sunday. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, south of Tokyo, on Sunday. (Associated Press)

The leaders then attended a sumo wrestling event in the evening, where Trump presented a large trophy to a tournament winner – in a first for a U.S. president.

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On Monday, Trump will be the first foreign leader to meet with Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, since he took the throne May 1.

Then Trump and Abe are expected to get down to business regarding trade matters before ending the state visit with Trump the guest of honor at a banquet hosted by the emperor.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump is accustomed to congratulating sports stars in the United States. But no president before him has ever presented a championship trophy to a sumo wrestler in Japan.

Trump on Sunday awarded a giant, eagle-topped “President’s Cup” to wrestler Asanoyama, a 25-year-old athlete who clinched a tournament win a day earlier.

The president — the first American to participate in the tournament — then congratulated Asanoyama on his “outstanding achievement.”

JAPAN WRESTLING WITH TRUMP GOING TO SUMO DURING STATE VISIT

President Trump presents the "President's Cup" to the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament winner Asanoyama, at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

President Trump presents the “President’s Cup” to the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament winner Asanoyama, at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

Then, with a little help, Trump handed the heavy cup to the champ. The White House said the 54-inch-high trophy weighs 60 to 70 pounds.

Asanoyama, whose real name is Hiroki Ishibashi, weighs 390 pounds, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier, Trump sat ringside and watched some wrestling action, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie – along with a crowd of about 11,500 wrestling fans.

President Trump attends the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. First lady Melania Trump is at top right. (Associated Press)

President Trump attends the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. First lady Melania Trump is at top right. (Associated Press)

The size of the crowd was half the normal capacity, as part of security preparations for Trump’s visit, and spectators went through security checks, the Associated Press reported.

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The president is in Japan on a four-day visit that will include meeting Japan’s new emperor and discussing trade issues with the Asian nation’s leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump is accustomed to congratulating sports stars in the United States. But no president before him has ever presented a championship trophy to a sumo wrestler in Japan.

Trump on Sunday awarded a giant, eagle-topped “President’s Cup” to wrestler Asanoyama, a 25-year-old athlete who clinched a tournament win a day earlier.

The president — the first American to participate in the tournament — then congratulated Asanoyama on his “outstanding achievement.”

JAPAN WRESTLING WITH TRUMP GOING TO SUMO DURING STATE VISIT

President Trump presents the "President's Cup" to the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament winner Asanoyama, at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

President Trump presents the “President’s Cup” to the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament winner Asanoyama, at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

Then, with a little help, Trump handed the heavy cup to the champ. The White House said the 54-inch-high trophy weighs 60 to 70 pounds.

Asanoyama, whose real name is Hiroki Ishibashi, weighs 390 pounds, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier, Trump sat ringside and watched some wrestling action, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie – along with a crowd of about 11,500 wrestling fans.

President Trump attends the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. First lady Melania Trump is at top right. (Associated Press)

President Trump attends the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, on Sunday, in Tokyo. First lady Melania Trump is at top right. (Associated Press)

The size of the crowd was half the normal capacity, as part of security preparations for Trump’s visit, and spectators went through security checks, the Associated Press reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The president is in Japan on a four-day visit that will include meeting Japan’s new emperor and discussing trade issues with the Asian nation’s leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Fox News Politics

Newly declassified intelligence shows that Palestinian terror group Hamas had to introduce “austerity plans” due to lack of funding from the Iranian regime.

State Department officials say the intelligence that was shared exclusively with Fox News reveals Tehran’s diminishing resources and influence within the region, prompting cutbacks among groups backed by the regime.

IRAN BUILDING NEW CROSSING ON SYRIA BORDER THAT WOULD LET IT SMUGGLE WEAPONS, OIL, EXPERTS SAY

This comes amid a tough sanctions regime introduced by the U.S., which sent the country into a recession, with inflation topping 50 percent.

Due to lack of funding from Iran, Hamas had to introduce “austerity plans” while other Shia militia groups were told by Iran that they need to find other sources of revenue as Iran is no longer in a position to provide them the funds.

This coincided with Lebanon-based Hezbollah’s calls on social media to donate to piggy banks. The group apparently used even children to attract contributions.

The U.S. intelligence also shows that the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is facing fuel shortages thanks to recent U.S. sanctions that cut off 1-3 million barrels a month that Iran once supplied to the war-torn country.

SENDING THOUSANDS MORE TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AMID IRAN THREAT WOULD BE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE: GEN. JACK KEANE

Domestically, as the Iranian treasury is struggling, so is the country’s cyber command, according to the declassified intelligence.

All this comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The Trump administration sent additional warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter unspecified threats to U.S. interests.

In addition, all non-essential U.S. staff at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Iraq were ordered to leave following a surprise visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

U.S. HAS THE MILITARY MIGHT, BUT IRAN WILL LEAN ON PROXIES AND MILITIAS IF THEY GET DRAGGED INTO CONFLICT

The Pentagon is also expected to announce new orders to deploy less than 2,000 additional service members to the Middle East to bolster security for existing American and allied forces in the region, multiple defense officials told Fox News.

The figure is well below the rumored 5,000 or 10,000 additional troops that were reportedly considered by the Pentagon. Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said such reports were “not accurate.”

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Military officials also want to deploy an additional Patriot anti-aircraft missile battery, a defensive weapon system, another warship or submarine to the region, more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, and potentially more Air Force fighter jets.

Fox News’ Rich Edson and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

Newly declassified intelligence shows that Palestinian terror group Hamas had to introduce “austerity plans” due to lack of funding from the Iranian regime.

State Department officials say the intelligence that was shared exclusively with Fox News reveals Tehran’s diminishing resources and influence within the region, prompting cutbacks among groups backed by the regime.

IRAN BUILDING NEW CROSSING ON SYRIA BORDER THAT WOULD LET IT SMUGGLE WEAPONS, OIL, EXPERTS SAY

This comes amid a tough sanctions regime introduced by the U.S., which sent the country into a recession, with inflation topping 50 percent.

Due to lack of funding from Iran, Hamas had to introduce “austerity plans” while other Shia militia groups were told by Iran that they need to find other sources of revenue as Iran is no longer in a position to provide them the funds.

This coincided with Lebanon-based Hezbollah’s calls on social media to donate to piggy banks. The group apparently used even children to attract contributions.

The U.S. intelligence also shows that the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is facing fuel shortages thanks to recent U.S. sanctions that cut off 1-3 million barrels a month that Iran once supplied to the war-torn country.

SENDING THOUSANDS MORE TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AMID IRAN THREAT WOULD BE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE: GEN. JACK KEANE

Domestically, as the Iranian treasury is struggling, so is the country’s cyber command, according to the declassified intelligence.

All this comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The Trump administration sent additional warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter unspecified threats to U.S. interests.

In addition, all non-essential U.S. staff at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Iraq were ordered to leave following a surprise visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

U.S. HAS THE MILITARY MIGHT, BUT IRAN WILL LEAN ON PROXIES AND MILITIAS IF THEY GET DRAGGED INTO CONFLICT

The Pentagon is also expected to announce new orders to deploy less than 2,000 additional service members to the Middle East to bolster security for existing American and allied forces in the region, multiple defense officials told Fox News.

The figure is well below the rumored 5,000 or 10,000 additional troops that were reportedly considered by the Pentagon. Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said such reports were “not accurate.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Military officials also want to deploy an additional Patriot anti-aircraft missile battery, a defensive weapon system, another warship or submarine to the region, more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, and potentially more Air Force fighter jets.

Fox News’ Rich Edson and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

Famed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will mark his 96th birthday Monday, but he hasn’t retired from sharing his insights on global affairs.

At a gathering in Washington last week, Kissinger spoke about the Trump administration’s upcoming Middle East peace plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century.”

Other veteran diplomats in attendance included national security adviser John Bolton and former Israeli ambassador Zalman Shoval.

TRUMP MIDDLE EAST ENVOY JASON GREENBLATT: PEACE PLAN IS WEEKS AWAY

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addresses the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jan. 25, 2018, with former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz in the background. (Associated Press)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addresses the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jan. 25, 2018, with former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz in the background. (Associated Press)

Both Kissinger and Shoval reportedly spoke about the Middle East peace plan, set to be unveiled in Bahrain in June.

Kissinger — who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford — went on to praise Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he “correctly analyzes the situation.”

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu correctly analyzes the situation.”

— Henry Kissinger

The first part of the Trump plan, which has been two years in the making, will be revealed June 25-26 during a conference that will bring together government and business leaders from around the world in a bid to increase investment in the Palestinian economy.

The conference won’t be addressing the most contentious parts of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians — such as borders, the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Israel’s security.

KUSHNER: MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN TO BE UNVEILED AFTER RAMADAN

In a statement with Bahrain, the White House said the June workshop will give government, civil and business leaders a chance to gather support for economic initiatives that could be possible with a peace agreement.

The U.S. hopes Arab countries will invest in Palestinian territories, fix crumbling infrastructure and support other industrial projects in an effort to convince the leadership to accept the peace plan.

“The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives,” Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said in a statement Sunday.

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“Economic progress can only be achieved with a solid economic vision and if the core political issues are resolved.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane says sending thousands of troops to the Middle East amid tensions with Iran would be both offensive and defensive in nature, with the Trump administration seeking to force Iran to the negotiating table.

Keane, a Fox News senior strategic analyst, said Thursday on “America’s Newsroom” that the “initial build-up of our forces” in the region, including a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, additional forces and bombers, was all about deterrence.

PENTAGON WEIGHS REQUESTING SEVERAL THOUSAND MORE TROOPS IN MIDEAST AMID IRAN TENSIONS: OFFICIAL

“Making certain that the Iranians really get the message that based on intelligence we thought they were going to have an unprovoked attack on our forces” Keane said.

But the potential plan to send between 5,000 and 10,000 more American troops to the region to beef up the existing forces is now all “about a response if [the Iranians] do” attack the U.S.

“I think what we’re probably looking at is increased offensive missile capability to be able to conduct cruise missiles from submarines and surface ships and also likely some additional missile defense capability to protect our facilities,” Keane said.

“I think what we’re probably looking at is increased offensive missile capability to be able to conduct cruise missiles from submarines and surface ships and also likely some additional missile defense capability to protect our facilities.”

— Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane

The Pentagon will present plans to the White House, which may also include Patriot missile batteries and naval ships, according to U.S. officials. No decision has been made, and it was not clear if the White House would give its blessing.

GEN. JACK KEANE: IRAN IS TRYING TO DESTABILIZE THE MIDDLE EAST, HAS ‘POLITICAL AND MILITARY ALLIANCE’ WITH RUSSIA

Tensions between Washington and Tehran came to a head after President Trump ordered warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter unspecified threats to U.S. interests. In addition, all non-essential U.S. staff at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Iraq were ordered to leave following a surprise visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The general went on to state that the possible extra forces would be both an offensive and defensive move against the Iranian threat.

“It’s largely defensive in the sense that we want to protect our facilities and that’s what the return of the forces is about,” he said, adding that “it’s also offensive because if they do conduct an unprovoked attack, we’ll have to respond to that and that is what this capability is really all about.”

“It’s largely defensive in the sense that we want to protect our facilities and that’s what the return of the forces is about. But it’s also offensive because if they do conduct an unprovoked attack we’ll have to respond to that and that is what this capability is really all about.”

— Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane

Yet the ultimate goal, Keane says, is about forcing Iran to restart the negotiations and find a “political solution,” pointing to the Trump administration’s pressure on the regime that made a significant impact on the country’s economy.

“The economy is in the tank. Inflation up 37 percent, the economy contracted 6 percent. This is notable. Power shortages, routinely, food shortages. Civil unrest growing in the country,” Keane said.

“However, all of those pressures we put on the Iranians, their behavior in terms of what they’re doing in Lebanon, Syria, encroaching on Israel, Yemen as well, that has not changed yet.”

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He added: “But they certainly feel the pressure. Remember where we’re going with this. We’re going to a political solution is what this administration is trying to achieve. Get Iran back to the negotiating table and work out a better deal.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats are “dead wrong” if they believe the White House overemphasized intelligence regarding potential threats from Iran, according to a top Republican senator.

Host Harris Faulkner asked Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman James Risch on “Outnumbered Overtime” whether Democrats’ claims the Trump administration “exaggerated” Iran intelligence are grounded in fact.

TRUMP TEAM BRIEFS CONGRESS ABOUT IRANIAN THREAT: ‘THIS IS ABOUT DETERRENCE, NOT ABOUT WAR’

“The Democrats are dead wrong on that,” Sen. Risch, R-Idaho, said, adding that he and other top lawmakers have been following the relevant intelligence for some time.

Risch went on to say that the Trump administration has been taking responsible steps in return to handle the potential threats.

The administration sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford to brief lawmakers Tuesday on escalating tensions with Tehran.

“Our efforts and our ultimate objective over the past days has been to deter Iran,” Pompeo said.

However, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., one of the most vocal critics of potential military action in Iran, said going to war in Iran would be “far worse than the war with Iraq.”

“We were lied to in terms of Iraq supposedly having weapons of mass destruction,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said. “A war with Iran would be an absolute disaster, far worse than the war with Iraq. I hope the people tell this administration that we will not go to war in Iran.”

Risch said recent Iran intelligence shows that the “velocity” of certain events has increased.

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“Anyone who would say the Iranians were not turning up the temperatures in the last two weeks of April and the first week in May simply doesn’t know anything about intelligence,” Risch said.

He said that if lawmakers in the closed-door meetings with Pompeo and the other officials didn’t come away thinking that a “serious situation was defused by some very professional work,” they “just don’t get it.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump fired a social media broadside at the Iranian regime Sunday afternoon, vowing that war between Washington and Tehran would result in “the official end of Iran” before warning, “[n]ever threaten the United States again!”

Trump tweeted hours after a rocket landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the first such attack since September. An Iraqi military spokesman told reporters the rocket appeared to have been fired from east Baghdad, which is home to several Iran-backed Shiite militias.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen in recent weeks after the Trump administration ordered warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter threatened attacks against U.S. interests by Iran or Iranian-backed forces.

The U.S. also ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad told Iraqi intelligence that the United States had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East. Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Pompeo had offered no details of the alleged threat.

UK FOLLOWS US LEAD, RAISES THREAT LEVEL IN IRAQ DUE TO THREAT FROM IRAN

Trump appeared to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the U.S. might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, “I hope not.”

The U.S. Navy said Sunday it had conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with the aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the region to counter the unspecified threat from Iran. The Navy said the exercises and training were conducted Friday and Saturday with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. “lethality and agility to respond to threat,” as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.

LARGE US WARSHIPS TRAIN TOGETHER IN ARABIAN SEA WITH EYE ON IRAN THREATS, NAVY SAYS

The USS Abraham Lincoln has yet to reach the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded at sea passes.

On the Iranian side, the head of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, was quoted Sunday as saying Iran is not looking for war. But he said the U.S. is going to fail in the near future “because they are frustrated and hopeless” and are looking for a way out of the current escalation. His comments, given to other Guard commanders, were carried by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

Also Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs told reporters that the kingdom “does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests.”

Adel al-Jubeir spoke a week after four oil tankers— two of them Saudi— were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. The Saudis have blamed the pipeline attack on Iran, accusing Tehran of arming the rebel Houthis, with which a Saudi-led coalition has been at war in Yemen since 2015. Iran denies arming or training the rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

BRETT VELICOVICH: ATTACKS ON SAUDI OIL PIPELINES, TANKERS HAVE IRAN’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER THEM

“We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound as the Iranians continuously attack. Iran has to understand that,” al-Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, meanwhile, has called for a meeting of Arab heads of state on May 30 in Mecca to discuss the latest developments, including the oil pipeline attack. The state-run Saudi news agency reported Sunday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss regional developments. There was no immediate statement by the State Department about the call.

An English-language Saudi newspaper close to the palace recently published an editorial calling for surgical U.S. airstrikes in retaliation for Iran’s alleged involvement in targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The current tensions are rooted in Trump’s decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose wide-reaching sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports that are crucial to its economy.

Iran has said it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7. That would potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, something Iran insists it has never sought.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump fired a social media broadside at the Iranian regime Sunday afternoon, vowing that war between Washington and Tehran would result in “the official end of Iran” before warning, “[n]ever threaten the United States again!”

Trump tweeted hours after a rocket landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the first such attack since September. An Iraqi military spokesman told reporters the rocket appeared to have been fired from east Baghdad, which is home to several Iran-backed Shiite militias.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen in recent weeks after the Trump administration ordered warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter threatened attacks against U.S. interests by Iran or Iranian-backed forces.

The U.S. also ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad told Iraqi intelligence that the United States had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East. Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Pompeo had offered no details of the alleged threat.

UK FOLLOWS US LEAD, RAISES THREAT LEVEL IN IRAQ DUE TO THREAT FROM IRAN

Trump appeared to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the U.S. might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, “I hope not.”

The U.S. Navy said Sunday it had conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with the aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the region to counter the unspecified threat from Iran. The Navy said the exercises and training were conducted Friday and Saturday with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. “lethality and agility to respond to threat,” as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.

LARGE US WARSHIPS TRAIN TOGETHER IN ARABIAN SEA WITH EYE ON IRAN THREATS, NAVY SAYS

The USS Abraham Lincoln has yet to reach the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded at sea passes.

On the Iranian side, the head of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, was quoted Sunday as saying Iran is not looking for war. But he said the U.S. is going to fail in the near future “because they are frustrated and hopeless” and are looking for a way out of the current escalation. His comments, given to other Guard commanders, were carried by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

Also Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs told reporters that the kingdom “does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests.”

Adel al-Jubeir spoke a week after four oil tankers— two of them Saudi— were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. The Saudis have blamed the pipeline attack on Iran, accusing Tehran of arming the rebel Houthis, with which a Saudi-led coalition has been at war in Yemen since 2015. Iran denies arming or training the rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

BRETT VELICOVICH: ATTACKS ON SAUDI OIL PIPELINES, TANKERS HAVE IRAN’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER THEM

“We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound as the Iranians continuously attack. Iran has to understand that,” al-Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, meanwhile, has called for a meeting of Arab heads of state on May 30 in Mecca to discuss the latest developments, including the oil pipeline attack. The state-run Saudi news agency reported Sunday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss regional developments. There was no immediate statement by the State Department about the call.

An English-language Saudi newspaper close to the palace recently published an editorial calling for surgical U.S. airstrikes in retaliation for Iran’s alleged involvement in targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The current tensions are rooted in Trump’s decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose wide-reaching sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports that are crucial to its economy.

Iran has said it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7. That would potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, something Iran insists it has never sought.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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